FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. (WTRF) – You may drive across the Market Street Bridge every day, but you might not know it was critical in developing the Buckeye and the Mountain States.
It’s a way to go between West Virginia and Ohio.
It’s a local landmark.
It’s a distinctive night-time sight in Brooke and Jefferson Counties.
Now, it’s a National Historic Landmark. The Market Street Bridge has just been recognized has having significance in telling the story of the United States.
It was originally constructed in the early 20th century when the Follansbee brothers, for whom the town is named, built a tin mill that drew workers from all over the area.
They built the bridge, it helped develop Weirton, It helped develop Follansbee and it helped develop Steubenville; economically and industrially.Tony Paesano, Head of Bridge Committee
Tony Paesano, who is the former Mayor of Follansbee, headed the committee that put the work in to make the bridge a protected landmark. He explained the state mentioned that the bridge might not be structurally sound back in 2010. Paesano brought then-Governor Joe Manchin to the bridge, who approved stimulus money in order to do restructuring work.
As soon as I heard that, and I was there, I helped cut the ribbon. I said, ‘we must protect the integrity of this bridge’ and the only way they’re gonna do that is if it becomes a National Historic Landmark.Tony Paesano, Head of Bridge Committee
But, it wasn’t an easy job.
Paesano, Kathy Kidder and Marty Bartz worked for years to get the necessary approvals.
I can’t say enough about the committee. We must have had 100 meetings in my house.Tony Paesano, Head of Bridge Committee
Eventually those meetings and communication with the right people paid off.
As for why the lights on the side of the bridge are blue, that’s an interesting story.
He says ‘hey mayor, what’s your favorite color,’ I said ‘blue, you know that.'”Tony Paesano, Head of Bridge Committee
T heir work isn’t over just yet. Right now, they’re working on a dedication for the plaque.
You know what? We never gave up. We never gave up and consequently it’s going to become a reality.Tony Paesano, Head of Bridge Committee